We're officially bordering on a dangerous obsession with the situation between the Bengals and Andre Smith. Regardless, it has been an interesting offseason for free agent offensive tackles in the NFL. We saw some get paid well at the onset of free agency, with guys like Phil Loadholt and Jermon Bushrod getting big deals in the first few days. Still, even though a good handful of tackles got the deals that they were looking for, some didn't.
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Aside from Smith, one other guy who had been mysteriously floating out there is former Chief, Eric Winston. Aside from the public tirade he went on last year where he directed his anger to fans who cheered when quarterback Matt Cassel went down with an injury, Winston is one of the better right tackles in the league. His age may have put off some teams, as he will be turning 30 during the season, as well as most others looking to get younger and cheaper talent in this year's tackle rich draft.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Dallas Cowboys are currently in talks with Winston about bringing him on board. If Winston does indeed sign a contract with Dallas, the situation brewing between the Bengals and Smith could get even more interesting. We've noticed an increasing sentiment amongst you Cincy Jungle faithful asking for the Bengals to bring in Winston, if not only for a negotiating ploy. It appears that that won't be happening.
Why would it get more interesting, you ask? For one, there will be another example of what premiere free agent right tackles are getting, in terms of a contract. Winston's potential deal is another in a long line of 2013 contracts for tackles that the Bengals and Smith's camp would point to. There is also the obvious aspect of another tackle being off of the market and one less team would not be in play for Smith's services.
Given the non-momentum between the Bengals and Smith's camp, we wouldn't be surprised if Smith goes unsigned into Draft weekend. If that were to be the case, interest could pick up for the big man's services should some tackle-needy teams not get one in the draft.